Research Papers

Optimum Solar Humidification–Dehumidification Desalination for Microgrids and Remote Area Communities

[+] Author and Article Information
Khalid M. Abd El-Aziz

Department of Mechanical
Design and Production,
Cairo University,
Cairo 12316, Egypt
e-mail: abdelaziz.k@eng.cu.edu.eg

Karim Hamza

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2102
e-mail: khamza@umich.edu

Mohamed El-Morsi

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
American University in Cairo,
New Cairo 11835, Egypt;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Ain Shams University,
Cairo 11566, Egypt
e-mail: melmorsi@aucegypt.edu

Ashraf O. Nassef

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
American University in Cairo,
New Cairo 11835, Egypt
e-mail: nassef@aucegypt.edu

Sayed M. Metwalli

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical
Design and Production,
Cairo University,
Cairo 12316, Egypt
e-mail: metwallis2@asme.org

Kazuhiro Saitou

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2102
e-mail: kazu@umich.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received May 29, 2015; final manuscript received December 29, 2015; published online February 1, 2016. Assoc. Editor: M. Keith Sharp.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 138(2), 021005 (Feb 01, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-15-1161; doi: 10.1115/1.4032477 History: Received May 29, 2015; Revised December 29, 2015

This paper presents the optimization of a solar-powered humidification–dehumidification (HDH) desalination system for remote areas where it is assumed that only minimal external electric power (for operating control systems and auxiliaries) is available. This work builds on a previous system by disconnecting the condenser from the saline water cycle and by introducing a solar air heater (SAH) to further augment the humidification performance. In addition, improved thermal simulation models for the condenser and the humidifier are used to obtain more accurate productivity estimations. The heuristic gradient projection (HGP) optimization procedure is also refactored to reduce the number of function evaluations, to reach the minimum unit cost of produced fresh water, compared to genetic algorithms (GAs). A case study which assumes a desalination plant on the Red Sea near the city of Hurghada, Egypt, is presented. The optimum systems are shown to significantly reduce the unit cost of fresh water production below the reported minimum ($1.3/m3 compared to $3/m3), while keeping specific energy consumption within the reported range, 120–550 kWh/m3, for solar HDH systems.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic diagram for a solar HDH desalination system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic diagram for the system previously studied by the authors [8]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic diagram for modified system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Volume element of the humidifier

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

HGP optimization procedure

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Daily cycle of solar radiation and water production for the optimum 500 m2 system



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